Border poll could be called 'within next decade' - Fine Gael's Richmond

Neale Richmond is calling for an all-party Special Oireachtas Committee to be set up
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.16 18 May 2022

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Border poll could be called 'w...

Border poll could be called 'within next decade' - Fine Gael's Richmond

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.16 18 May 2022

Share this article

A Fine Gael TD says it is conceivable a border poll could be called 'within the next decade'.

Dublin-Rathdown Deputy Neale Richmond says Brexit has "fundamentally changed the tone of debate" when it comes to Irish unity.

He was speaking on Wednesday at an event in London hosted by Ireland's Future.


The campaign group is calling for greater debate and discussion about Ireland - including the possibility of unification.

Deputy Richmond is calling on the Oireachtas to set up an all-party Special Committee, to look at the challenges and opportunities Irish unity presents.

In a series of tweets, he says a border poll could happen in the next decade.

"It is conceivable that a British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland could call a border poll on Irish unity within the next decade.

"It is therefore the Irish Government's duty to ensure that we are as best prepared as possible to meet the challenge of such a referendum.

"Many people across this island, understandably, ask what would a united Ireland look like and sadly many also ask and what would it cost?"

Mr Richmond says discussions around unity are becoming more widespread.

"Now is the time to bring together stakeholders, experts and advocates of all positions to work through these many questions in a parliamentary setting.

"We must be realistic and recognise that discussions regarding Irish unity are becoming more widespread - and as such we must be prepared to present our vision of a united Ireland, down to the nitty-gritty details, as soon as is possible.

"There is much work to be done in re-building relations both north/south and east/east - as well as working through the challenges that continue to be presented by Brexit.

"But that should not preclude a parallel discussion and much-needed planning on the possibility of Irish unity."

And he believes Britain's Brexit referendum is a template to take lessons from.

"Those of us who want a united Ireland, a new Ireland, must be prepared to put in the work to present our vision to all the people of these islands.

"We can build a new Ireland: one that is united, inclusive and that is a full member of the EU.

"Brexit has shown us what happens when you ask a question with no clear outline of what the answer looks like.

"Let's learn from the lessons of Brexit and take a responsible path forward."

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has previously suggested a border poll could take place within the next five years.

This followed her party's historic results in the recent assembly elections in Northern Ireland.

Ms McDonald said: "I believe that we are going to see these referendums - and there have to be two bear in mind, north and south - in the coming years.

"Certainly within this decade, this decade of opportunity we are going to see constitutional change on the island of Ireland.

"I believe that the referendum will be possible within a five-year time frame.

"But much more importantly I believe that the preparation needs to start now," she added.

Main image: Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond speaking to media outside Leinster House in February 2020. Picture by: Photo: Sam Boal/

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